Vitas, the Man With the Five-Octave Voice

Posted on August 14, 2012


His name is Vitaliy Vladasovich Grachyov, but you can call him Vitas.  He was born in Latvia, raised in Ukraine, sings in Russian, and is wildly popular in China.  When I say “wildly popular,” I mean, he draws crowds of fainting girls worthy of the Beatles’ heyday.  Here is a video of crowd reactions, shot from the viewpoint of his entourage.  I find it frightening.  One look at this and I know that I don’t have what it takes to be a celebrity.  But Vitas is “on” at such moments, engaging.  Being able to do that, especially under those circumstances, is part of the magic (and much more gracious to the fans than a lot of other celebrities I can think of).

So what’s the big attraction?  It doesn’t hurt that Vitas is easy on the eyes, but that voice!  Five octaves, and one of the most remarkable male falsettos in probably… ever.  You know the scene in The Fifth Element when that blue alien diva sings Il Dolce Suono from the opera Lucia di Lammermoor?  Well, Vitas can sing that, and probably better than most sopranos.  Here’s the (rather glitzy) video.*

Vitas already had a budding career as a TV actor, but his musical breakout came in 2000 with his performance of Opera No. 2, a typically Russian-sounding single that shows off his powerful falsetto to great advantage.  It is still a crowd favorite (maybe the crowd favorite).

Vitas has experimented with different stage costumes and music styles, which – sadly – seem downright silly at times (well, there’s no accounting for what sells).  He is at his best when he appears most natural, and sings the operatic classics and other pieces that showcase his incredible range.  And that’s what the audiences go to hear!


* Yes, the women are a real violin duo, and quite good in their own right.  They go by the professional name Vibracia.